Book Review: Independent Guide to New York City 2016
I have a bookshelf full of travel guides. I love reading these books before I explore a new destination, and they make a great record of your travels. But there is just one problem with them; even if you purchase the latest edition, some of the information has almost always gone out of date already. But now there is a solution, thanks to Independent Guidebooks….
Independent Guidebooks are publishers of theme park and world city travel guides. All of their books are written by independent writers, who know the city or theme park extremely well.
All of the Independent Guidebooks publications are constantly updated throughout the year and printed on demand, meaning they are always up to date. This is a unique feature, which means when you buy the book you will get the very latest published version.
This contrasts with other leading guidebook brands, that publish a new issue every two to three years and do large print runs.
I was offered the opportunity to review the latest publication from Independent Guidebooks, the Independent Guide to New York City 2016, which was first published in December 2015.
Independent Guide to New York City 2016
I was really impressed by this guide book. It is light and flexible, which makes it great to pack, and it is also available as an eBook for all you Kindle users out there. The book is well laid out and easy to use. It is also clearly written by someone who knows the city well (in fact the author lives there).
All of the key information you would expect to see in the book is there, including the history of New York City, a really useful pre-travel section which outlines the entry requirements, and the usual transport, accommodation, shopping, nightlife and food sections.
The Customs and Etiquette section is a great idea, as none of us want to be one those annoying groups of tourists that block the entire sidewalk or break some unwritten rule and cause offence! This section covers walking, elevator etiquette (I would not have considered this at all I must confess), tipping, and where you can and can’t smoke in the city, to help you avoid a fine.
I thought the Top 10 Can’t Miss Spots list was really useful, particularly for people who might be visiting just for the weekend, and the comprehensive seasonal events section includes a calendar of 2016 dates (another advantage of constantly updating the guide).
One of the things I liked most about this book was the way it is organised, largely by neighbourhood. What a great idea! How many times have you trekked across town to go to a museum or attraction, only to find (usually too late) that you could have ticked off a number of things on your list while you were there. So for the disorganised traveller (like me), this is really helpful.
Organising the information by neighbourhood helps you to easily plan an itinerary, picking up all the key attractions and best places to eat in an individual area, ensuring you can make better use of your time in the city, and ultimately get to see and do more.
I found the transport section particularly helpful as well, as getting around a new city is often quite a challenge. The guide to understanding subway maps is really helpful, for example.
The maps in the book are easy to understand and accessible, with the more detailed Manhattan map being particularly useful. It also makes sense for these to be at the back of the book so they are easy to find if you lose your way.
I would have liked to see more photography, and it is a shame that the hard copy it is printed in black and white. But as this is to keep the price down for readers you really can’t complain about that! If you would prefer to have colour photography, then simply go for the eBook instead.
These guides are extremely competitively priced. The Independent Guide to New York City costs just £4.99 for a hard copy and £1.99 for the ebook. Even the Pocket New York City Guide from Lonely Planet is priced at £7.99, which is a considerable difference.
It wasn’t clear whether the book was printed on recycled paper, or whether vegetable-based inks had been used. If these are key considerations for you, then I recommend you go for the eBook.
Parks and open spaces are identified by neighbourhood, and there are specific attractions that may appeal to the green-thinking traveller, such as the Union Square Greenmarket. Availability of vegetarian and vegan food is flagged by restaurant or outlet (where applicable).
Other books available in the series include Independent Guides to:
Walt Disney World
I will definitely search out Independent Guidebooks city guides in future. The Independent Guide to New York City 2016 has been a great introduction to the series.
For more information visit Independent Guidebooks.
Thank you to Independent Guidebooks for the review copy of this book. As always, all views in this post are my own.
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